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Leon Polk Smith – Hiding in Plain Sight at Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

  • “Leon Polk Smith: Hiding in Plain Sight” installation view, Photo: Heard Museum, Craig Smith

    Leon Polk Smith Hiding in Plain Sight

    Heard Museum, Leon Polk Smith – Hiding in Plain Sight on display through May 31, 2021.


    (Photo by Fung Lin Hall)


  • (Artforum Spotlight Heard Museum)

  • Leon Polk Smith Foundation

    Lisson Gallery – Leon Polk Smith

    wiki- Leon Polk Smith

    Artnet – Leon Polk Smith

    Leon Polk Smith was a Cherokee American painter known for works which blended Native American design and hard-edge geometrically-oriented abstract paintings on unframed canvases of unusual shapes. While his style had originally been inspired by artists such as Piet Mondrian, he took geometric abstraction a step further, cultivating the Hard-Edge and Minimal painting styles in the late 1950s. “I can’t imagine that there is an end to space. It tells us that we are to keep going, to be optimistic,” he commented on his conceptual exploration of space through art. Smith was born on May 20, 1906 and grew up on farms and ranches among Choctaw and Chickasha Native American communities in present-day Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma State College (now East Central University) with the intention of becoming a teacher and then moved to New York City in 1936 to study at Columbia University’s Teachers College. It was there that he was inspired by Piet Mondrian’s paintings and Constantin Brâncuși and Jean Arp’s sculptures at the Gallatin Collection. While his early art career utilized Surrealist and Expressionist styles, he developed his own style over time that leaned more towards Modernism. In 1954, he produced a series of tondos, which helped to place him at the forefront of movements such as Hard-Edge, Color Field, and Minimalism. One of his most famous works is a series of modular paintings he created in 1967 known as The Constellations, each of which comprised multiple canvases that could be arranged in different configurations, making the walls they were hung up on meaningful parts of the installations. His works have been exhibited in museums all over the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, MACBA in Buenos Aires, and Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Smith passed away on December 4, 1996 in New York City.

  • RE: Carmen Herrera and Leon Polk Smith

    In 1939 she moved to New York and swiftly made connections in the Downtown art scene: Barnett Newman and Leon Polk Smith become lifelong friends. (via)

    Carmen Herrara is 105 years old today.

    A virtual talk, a deeper look at Leon Polk’Smith’s artistic practice (Youtube)

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